Live Review: Rebellion Festival – Blackpool Winter Gardens, UK, Friday 4th August 2017

  • Phinky posted
  • Reviews

Rebellion Festival (Friday)

Blackpool Winter Gardens, UK - Friday 4th August 2017

Rebellion 17 Heavy DrapesA meander from my hotel with twanging hamstrings and aching calves takes me through Blackpool’s faded glamour and back to the Winter Gardens where an enormous queue has formed to get in for Saturday’s impressive line up which means I’ve already missed Aerial Salad by the time I finally get in. My Friday opens with the Kenneths who blow away the cobwebs after last night excess on a sundrenched Casbah Stage, their set of high energy punk rock starts Friday off perfectly. The Heavy Drapes have made the leap from the introducing stage last year to the Empress Ballroom, and you can see why, they deliver an anthemic set of pulverising old school punk rock, that means Friday has kicked into gear early.
 
Rebellion 17 SvetlanasI catch the end of Sensa Yuma‘s heavyweight set as we head back outside to catch Maid Of Ace rocking the Casbah Stage, and they don’t disappoint the as the hyperactive all female quartet deliver a full tilt set of raucous punk rock, that I sadly have to cut short as Svetlanas are playing the Pavillion Stage, they are a must see as they have just released what looks like being my favourite album of 2017. Svetlanas are something to behold, carrying the energy of early Dead Kennedys and the Dwarves best recordings. Svetlanas lead singer Olga prowls the stage and the dance floor like a caged animal, her intense stage presence is matched by a frantic hardcore edged soundtrack, and all the expectations from their incredible new album, This Is Moscow Not LA, are exceeded. This is a band you need to see live as I doubt I’ll encounter a better live ever act this weekend, or this year, and I have to buy a new t shirt afterwards as the one I was wearing is now soaked as I was down the front throughout Svetlanas incredible set.
 
As I wander outside for a cigarette I catch John Robb, one of Manchester’s punk mainstays, playing an impressive set with The Membranes complete with a full choir, had it not clashed with Svetlanas this is something I’d have made a point of catching. Tagada Jones follow with a blast of hard edged Gallic street punk, to me bands like this are one of the joys of the Rebellion Festival. I would never have encountered these in my local punk scene, but the Rebellion Festival unites cultures and scenes in the punk community like no other festival, and along with Svetlanas I have encountered two incredible bands from mainland Europe. Behind me a moshpit forms of their hardcore fans who have made the journey across the channel and Tagada Jones are for me one of the best discoveries of the Rebellion Festival, and I recommend you investigate this band who prove that punk rock travels beyond the usual English and American borders.
 
Rebellion 17 TV SmithSeeing TV Smith is an essential part of rebellion, the former lead singer of The Adverts was there at the start and to see him playing with a full band,  The Bored Teenagers, is a temptation that is too good to resist. Tonight’s set with the Bored Teenagers is focused upon his post adverts solo material, and songs such as the Good Times Are Back and My String Will Snap sound as relevant as the day the day the day were written, if not more so. Further wandering finds another of punks old school, Vice Squad, sounding re-energised for the Rebellion Festival, and alongside their extensive back catalogue they close with the Motorhead classic, Ace Of Spades. A brief  break precedes a return to the Casbah Stage where The Real McKenzies are bringing their Celtic punk rock to Blackpool and they are celebrating 25 years together, another band I’ve intended to see for a number of years and however good you may think they are on record, live is where they are at their beer fuelled best and they bring a party atmosphere to the Friday night at the Rebellion Festival.
 
I’ve intended to see DOA ever since I bought 13 Flavours Of Doom a long long time ago, several farewell tours have meant that I thought it would never happen, but Friday night at the Rebellion Festival brings the legendary Canadian outfit to the Casbah Stage. There is nothing I can say about these Canadian punk legends that hasn’t already been said, but I’m going to say it anyway, the politically charged punk band deserves every accolade that’s thrown at them, they have been around for four decades and it’s been worth the wait to finally see them. Tonight the Casbah Stage has had a distinctly Northern exposure and when DOA play Already Dead, the first song I ever heard by them, I think I’ve peaked, but add to this songs such as General Strike, that’s dedicated to Theresa May, and Race Riot, then my day is utterly made. DOA return for an encore of Full Metal Jackoff, from their amazing album recorded with Jello Biafra, Last Scream Of The Missing Neighbours, and the inevitable ending of Fucked Up Donald, this marks an incredible end to an amazing day that has mainly been spent on the Casbah Stage, they leave with the words “together we can, together we will, make the world a better place’.
 
Sometimes the Rebellion Festival holds secrets, such as F.I.L.F., which turns out to be an unheralded and unpublicised Macc Lads reunion, with original members Stez Styx, Mutley McLadd, The Beater and Chorley The Hord, with new addition Bammy, who between them were banned from more venues than any other British punk band, in fact probably more than the rest of them put together. Tonight they are mainly covering classic punk songs and the band are clearly enjoying being back together, but they close with a final encore of the Macc Lads obscene classic Blackpool, and what else would they choose for the Rebellion Festival, that’s thrown in for good measure the venue erupts, and this is the welcome return of another band I never thought I would see again.
 
The review of the Saturday at the Rebellion Festival 2017 will follow shortly on The Punk Site.
 
The Rebellion Festival wesbsite is here
 
Unofficial live photography courtesy of Froggy and Eloise Coone
 
You can click on any of the photos to view a slide show of the images